A windwhipped fire believed to be caused by arson raged through a residential area early Friday, destroying at least seven apartment buildings before firefighters brought it under control.

No deaths or serious injuries were reported, but at least seven firefighters and three residents suffered minor injuries."It's amazing there is no loss of life," said Revere Fire Inspector Gene Dougherty, who described the neighborhood as "the most congested in the city."

Authorities said the fire was one of three blazes believed to be set by arson overnight within a half-mile or so in this working-class suburb north of Boston. The other two were far less serious.

All fire equipment in the Boston metropolitan area was made available to Revere, and at least 17 departments responded. As many as 60 residents were evacuated.

"I could smell the fire," said Yn Koeut, who fled with his son, Savam, 13. "I wake up and saw the burning on Highland (Avenue). I call police. They told me to go to the Red Cross."

The worst of the three fires started about 2:45 a.m. in a boarded-up building, and winds up to 30 mph blew embers that spread the blaze to nearby occupied homes. The buildings that were destroyed were three-story frame apartment buildings, common to the region and called "triple-deckers."

Fire Chief James Connery declared the fire to be a conflagration, "the highest level of fire you can declare. When you declare a conflagration, mutual aid automatically takes over."

Firefighters were hampered by temperatures in the 20s, with a wind-chill factor near zero.